25 January 2010

Abuela's Hominy and Roasted Peppers

Ahh... the lowly stew. You take a bit of this, a bit of that, you throw it in a pot and add some herbs and spices. You cover it up and wait for a while. Wait a while longer... and when you take that cover off, an aroma rises up and out and into the air. It's like a magical balm envelopes you and anyone in the immediate vicinity! Think of the farmer's wife stirring that pot and giving her face a quick aromatic steam sauna, think of a hunter leaning over the fire's stewpot warming his hands, think of some poor work-a-day Joe returning to his apartment and tipping the top of the crockpot to inhale the essense of his mother's kitchen, think of an old abuela putting her love and tradition into her family's dinner ... I could go on, but I think you get it.

I'm making a stew this afternoon and when I lift the lid, I'll be imagining that abuela passing this recipe to me and urging me to make it my own. So, I will be spicing it with a cup of the hot salsa that I canned back in the heat of August, some hot Portugese sausage that I have been craving of late, and a few babyback ribs that I am sacrificing before I use the rest of the rack for a spicy BBQ addition to a football tailgate party that's coming up. If I could get dried hominy, I'd use it, but I can't. I'll be using canned hominy that I drain and set aside on a plate to dry out a bit by the woodstove. I can just imagine the smell of this spicy and satisfying stew ... cornbread with jalapeno cheese melted into it and a glass of Rioja and I will be a happy woman.

It's supposed to storm and blow tonight ... who cares? It's warm in my kitchen.

This stew is the soul of home-cooked Mexican fare. We can't believe how wonderful the flavors meld together. The added bonus is the sparerib that you can pick up and chomp on ... so yum! AND... the jalapeno cheese cornbread is perfect for sopping up all the good gravy.

Abuela's Hominy and Roasted Peppers - printer friendly

Abuela's Hominy and Roasted Peppers

3 sweet peppers, red and yellow - roasted, skinned and seeded
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
4-6  pork spareribs, bone-in
1 tsp. oregano
12 peppercorns
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 cans hominy, drained, rinsed, and dried
1 c. pico de gallo or bottled salsa
1 quart chicken broth
1 tbsp. tomato paste mixed with 2 tbsp. cornstarch and water to make a paste
1 chourizo sausage, chopped into small chunks
salt and pepper, to taste

Set the broiler rack about 8 inches below the flame/heat place 3 sweet peppers on the rack. Place a cookie sheet below them a rack down to catch drips and broil the peppers until the skins pop and blacken on all sides. Watch them and turn them, accordingly. When they are blackened, place them on a large plate and cover with a bowl, weight the bowl and set them aside for about half hour. Then, take them out, peel the skins off, slice in half and remove the veins and seeds. Sprinkle with a few pinches of oregano and kosher salt and set aside.

In a heavy stew pot, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until translucent.
Add the pork spareribs and seasonings and continue browning until ribs are browned up on the sides.
Add the pico de gallo/salsa, and broth. Cover and simmer for 2 hours.
Open the hominy cans, drain, and rinse the hominy and set in a warm dry place to air dry a bit.
Add the hominy, sausage, and tomato paste thickening sauce and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
Cut the roasted peppers into bite-sized squares and add, simmering another 10 minutes.
Correct the seasonings and serve with warm cornbread.

Cornbread With Jalapenos and Cheese - printer friendly

Cornbread with Jalapeño and Cheese

Whisk together in a large mixing bowl:

1 c. unbleached flour
¾ c. medium grind yellow cornmeal
¼ c. coarse polenta
¼ c. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cumin

Add and toss to coat with the flour mixture:

½ c. grated cheese (mild cheddar or Monterey jack)
1 small jalapeno pepper, minced – seeds, veins, and all if you want some spiciness

Mix in a 2-cup measure and then add to dry ingredients all at once:

¼ c. plain yogurt or sour cream
¾ c. milk
4 tbsp. butter, melted
2 eggs
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

Whip together in 20 (and only 20) stokes and turn into a greased 8x8 inch pan.
Bake at 410º F for 20 minutes or until the edges are golden and a cake tester ‘comes clean’.
Let rest for 10 minutes and then cut and serve.


  1. This is so very much like Mexican postole! The hominy would be a different type of corn, though, and there are green chilis added to the broth. A special dish served around the holidays.

  2. Wow! This IS very much like the hominy stew my grandmother made when I was a kid. She would have it at Christmastime with warm tortillas that we ripped up and dipped in the broth... and yes, she put green chilis that she roasted first into the stew. Hot and spicy!


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